Sunday, March 1, 2015

You Live and You Learn

My suggestion is: If you read several articles about starting seeds indoors and they all recommend that you sterilize your plastic seed trays before you plant the seeds, you should follow their recommendations. Learn from my mistake and don't skip this important step or your little seedlings may fall over and die like mine did. Yes, my seedlings damped off, killed by fungus. Rookie mistake.

This is my first time trying to start seeds indoors. The dream started in January while going through seed catalogues filled with promises of heirloom harvests. After lots of deliberation, the varieties were finally selected and the order was placed. Waiting for the seeds to arrive in the mail was like waiting for Christmas. The anticipation built until the package was finally delivered, filled with small seed packets which held so much hope. Yellow and pink tomatoes, fancy peppers, beans and eggplants all waiting to be carefully planted and tended. 

I made this inexpensive indoor grow light box to give my seeds the best chance to sprout early. I bought organic seed starting mix and made name tags out of wood sticks. Then I decided to skip that bothersome and yucky job of cleaning and sterilizing my reusable plastic six packs. All the articles mentioned that without this step, the plants could all die due to a fungal infection, a condition called "damping off". But seriously, would that really happen? I was so eager to get the seeds going that I opted to jump ahead and so I filled the plastic containers with seed starting mix, planted the seeds, watered them and waited.

About 2/3 of the seeds germinated and grew to about one inch tall. The excitement of seeing all those heirloom tomatoes and peppers pop up was crushed when they fell over, one by one, and died. Oh, the sadness of those tiny limp dead tomatoes! Out to the garbage the whole bunch went. 

Here's what I learned after my inaugural attempt at indoor seed starting:

Sterilizing your plant trays is recommended for a reason. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that painful lesson, Andrea
    @ Joyce: Thank you for sharing!